Black Customer Wins Out After Being Accused Of Stealing His Own Jacket
It's no secret that despite many social advances in the modern age, racism is still an issue. Contentious debates over privilege, statues of slave traders and incidents of police brutality remind us that however far we think we've come in recent times, there is still much further to go.
The examples listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, of course. One of the most insidious forms of racism in is something that happens to black people every day - racial profiling.
A perfect example of that is what happened to James Conley III, when members of staff at a branch of Old Navy in Jordan Creek, Iowa accused him of stealing the jacket he had walked into the store wearing.
He explained in a Facebook post: "I was accused that I didn't pay for my blue bubble jacket that I got for Christmas that I wore into the store.
"As I was checking out to purchase some hoodies, I was asked if I wanted to also purchase the jacket that I was wearing.
"First, I started laughing because I didn't believe what I was hearing. The store manager was very unprofessional and stereotyped me because I was a black male."
"He says: 'Any time someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to ensure that it was previously purchased.'"
Seems an unusual policy, eh? Imagine the length of the queues and the level of outrage if they introduced that at Primark.
James continued: "Every time I go to this store I have on my same exact winter blue jacket and have never been asked to scan my clothing and the previous 'non-black' customers had on identical apparel as me from Old Navy but was never asked to scan their clothing.
"Then after they scan my jacket, they try to make me repay for it?? Finally the District Manager Shannon (who refused to give out her last name) came out and I made her check the surveillance tape to prove that her and her fellow employees were in the wrong for racially profiling me because of the color of my skin."
The Facebook post has since been shared more than 150,000 times, and the video that Conley made after the accusations has also gone viral.
Unsurprisingly, it resulted in the dismissal of the employees involved, as well as the following statement from Old Navy, posted to the company's Facebook page:
Hopefully Old Navy also gave him a lifetime supply of vouchers. Still, James is planning to pursue a civil damages lawsuit against the store. He also hopes that his case will shed light on how common racial profiling is in the States. Good luck, sir!
Featured Image Credit: Facebook / James Conley III